Stormy Discussion

Brisbane has provided a temporary (if tempestuous) home for our community of students, professionals, artists, researchers, educators, and activists to assemble and discuss how we can combat alienation and reclaim the public sphere for dialogue on issues of debt.

A great but exhausting few days so far starting with presentations of work by the Memefest "Imaginative Critical Intervention" award winners. Rather than a parade of contextless and heroic images, these practitioners opened up their philosophies and tactics, sparking extended discussion about socially responsive practice and its relationship to debt (heroically pushing into lunch time). Their wide range of approaches rhilight the importance of creative tactics when working for 'from-below' change. Selected students curated by Memefest also provided examples of critical thinking and social engagement that are encouraging to see within contemporary design education. All of this was informed by presentations and discussion by thinkers and theorists about design/art and its relationship to debt.

After discussing debt and Brisbane in depth we have identified some general themes to frame research for intervention. These include:
- debt and alienation
- hidden debt
- the naturalisation of debt, including its system of 'morality'
- the exploitation of debt in the rhetoric of policy-makers
- debt as it relates to indigenous exploitation
- debt as it relates to lifestyle, entertainment, and status
- and more... (please feel free to use the comments to add or correct).

After framing all of these issues as they relate to us, and to the communities from which we come, we are today travelling around Brisbane to observe the psychogeography for ourselves. By visiting as many communities as possible we are hoping to explore sites of hidden debt that are whitewashed by Brisbane's clean and regulated facade.

What (who) is hidden? By whom? For what purpose? What are the possibilities for awareness, agency, and emancipation?


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